Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day Eleven: Cowboy Cookies

I've been appreciating all the restaurants with sweet and salty desserts lately. The salted chocolate mousse at The Farm in Ditmas Park is one of my hands-down favorites. It's a rich chocolate mousse topped with a salted whipped cream. The whipped cream on its own wouldn't be too tasty, but paired with the mousse, it's just divine. 

But we digress from the topic at hand: cowboy cookies. Note that these cookies have absolutely nothing to do with cowboys. 

My love of sweet and salty led me to these cookies, and I was not disappointed. These are chewy oatmeal cookies, loaded with sweet M&Ms, and lined AND topped with crushed pretzels. You'll have a little salty and a little sweet in every bite. 

Just be warned: If your mixer is several years old and the beaters are starting to break, do not try to use it to mix this dough. I did, unfortunately, and I managed to break both of my beaters at separate times. 

Only one more day of Christmas cookies to go! Be sure to check back tomorrow!

Cowboy Cookies
adapted from Baked Explorations

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, removed from the fridge 15-20 minutes before using
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup hot water
2 cups M & Ms
1 cup salted pretzel sticks, broken into tiny pieces but not crushed into dust.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the oats and stir to combine.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment , beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat for 5 seconds. Add 1/4 cup hot water and stir until combined. 

Add half of the dry ingredients and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the M&Ms and ½ cup of the pretzel pieces.

Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon-size balls (or use a tablespoon measure) and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup salted pretzel pieces over the dough balls. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough down lightly; don't smash the cookie-you just want to slightly flatten the ball and push the pretzel pieces into the dough.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown or just start to darken.

Set the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies on the rack to cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or in the freezer for quite some time. 

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